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Vintners Reception

What to Taste at the 2017 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

Top winemakers and wineries from California and beyond will be in Atlanta March 22nd through 25th for the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction. Celebrating its 25th year, the auction has raised more than $26 million for the High Museum.

Earlier: High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Returns for 25th Edition

Whether it’s your first High Museum Wine Auction or you’re a regular, here are the wines you won’t want to miss at Saturday’s Vintners’ Reception. Bonus if you love Pinot Noir.

Au Bon Climat

Jim Clendenen at the 2016 wine auction
Jim Clendenen at the 2016 wine auction

Owner and winemaker Jim Clendenen is one of this year’s guests of honor. It is well deserved – beyond making delicious wines, Jim is a familiar face at the wine auction and always has entertaining stories. In addition to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Jim brings fun and unique wines for guests to sample. Au Bon Climat is based in Santa Barbara County, in California’s Central Coast.
aubonclimat.com

Kosta Browne

Co-founders Michael Browne and Dan Kosta round out this year’s guests of honor. If you’re a fan of Pinot Noir you’ve no doubt enjoyed one from Kosta Browne. If you haven’t tasted these wines from Sonoma, you must make them one of your first stops.
kostabrowne.com

Single vineyard Pinot Noir at Bernardus Winery's tasting room
Single vineyard Pinot Noir at Bernardus Winery’s tasting room

Bernardus Winery

Start with the Sauvignon Blanc from this Carmel Valley, California winery and you won’t be disappointed. Bernardus was founded by Bernardus “Ben” Pon, who is from the Netherlands (you’ll notice orange in the logo). Marinus, a Bordeaux-style blend, is a must-taste. Bernardus also makes single vineyard Pinot Noirs that when sipped side-by-side offer a glimpse at the different terroir. After the wine auction you’ll want to plan a trip to the tasting room in Carmel Valley Village.
bernardus.com

Big Basin wine

Big Basin Vineyards

In the charming town of Saratoga, on the edge of Silicon Valley, is where I first discovered Big Basin Vineyards. Their small and unassuming tasting room doesn’t prepare you for the big and bold flavors of their red wine – Pinot Noir, Syrah and Rhone blends. Big Basin’s vineyards are located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Wine auction guests got their first taste of Big Basin at last year’s event; this year owner and winemaker Bradley Brown will be offering tastes of current releases. Big Basin also makes Chardonnay and white wines from Rhone grapes. I’m a big fan of their Roussanne.
bigbasinvineyards.com

Continuum Estate's vineyards on Prichard Hill
Continuum Estate’s vineyards on Prichard Hill

Continuum Estate

Continuum made a big splash at the wine auction in 2014, when father and daughter Tim and Carissa Mondavi were guests of honor. Continuum’s vineyards are located on Pritchard Hill on the east side of Napa Valley, a stunning location if you have the chance to visit. Each year Continuum produces one wine, made from the estate’s best grapes, that truly captures a sense of place and the characteristics of that vintage. More recently they introduced Novicium, a second wine made primarily with grapes from younger vines. Continuum is a prized wine that all aficionados should have in their cellar.
continuumestate.com

Domaine Della

Domaine Della

A favorite discovery from last year’s wine auction, Domaine Della returns for its second year. Owner and winemaker David Hejl named the winery for his mother, who as he will tell you, was a truly remarkable woman. David’s experience crafting high quality Pinot Noir shows in each bottle of his wine. It’s hard to pick a favorite between his Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. Be sure to join Domaine Della’s list for a chance to buy wine during the spring and fall releases.
domainedella.com

Lando Wines

Sam and Jennifer Lando at the 2016 wine auction
Sam & Jennifer Lando at the 2016 wine auction

Sam Lando is the kind of guy who you want to have a beer – or in this case, glass of wine with. Besides being engaging and entertaining, Sam is extremely knowledgeable about Pinot Noir, having worked with Kosta Browne winery. He’s another wine auction regular, and his table is always a popular spot. Lando makes flavorful and balanced Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.
landowines.com

Patel wines

Patel Winery

If full-bodied Napa Cabernet is your favorite, you must seek out Raj Patel of Patel Winery. As I wrote in 2015, “when Robert Parker awards your first wine a 95, you know you’ve made something special.” Patel wines are lush, layered and elegant, thanks to having access to some of the best grapes and the expertise of Luc Morlet, one of Napa’s top winemakers. Last year Raj debuted a Malbec, a deliciously spicy wine. This year he’ll be offering tastes of his 2014 Napa Valley Malbec, Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon.
patelwinery.com

Winderlea Pinot Noir

Winderlea Vineyard and Winery

You could spend the entire Vintners’ Reception enjoying California Pinot Noir but be sure not to miss these Oregon Pinots. The name Winderlea evokes images of the breeze gently blowing through the vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Founders Bill Sweat and Donna Morris made their wine auction debut last year, offering tastes of their Chardonnay and single vineyard Pinot Noirs. I can’t wait to taste what they’ll have this year.
winderlea.com

Of course, you can’t go wrong with Champagne. This year Champagne Billecart-Salmon will be offering tastes of its bubbly. I’d suggest starting there, then moving on to the wineries featured above.

The Vintners’ Reception at the 25th annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction will be held on Saturday, March 25th at 11 a.m., followed by the Live Auction. Located under the tents at the Green Lot at Turner Field.
atlanta-wineauction.org

Click to see earlier articles on the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

MAYA Steaks Seafood

Support Second Helping Atlanta at MAYA Steaks & Seafood

Chef Mimmo Alboumeh of MAYA Steaks & Seafood and Red Pepper Taqueria is not just focused on making delicious food. He’s also passionate about giving back to the local community.

Now through mid-May Chef Mimmo has partnered with Second Helping Atlanta. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization aims to eliminate hunger in the Metropolitan Atlanta area by taking surplus food and delivering it to those in need.

Chef MimmoDine at MAYA Steaks & Seafood on Wednesdays through May 10th 2017, and 20% of your total bill will be donated to Second Helping Atlanta.

Call ahead to the Sandy Springs restaurant at (404) 705-8880 and reserve the Chef’s Table for Second Helpings. You may also reserve a table for 2 to 8 people through Open Table. If reserving online, include the note that you’d like to be seated at the Chef’s Table to benefit Second Helpings Atlanta.

MAYA, named for Chef Mimmo’s youngest daughter, offers top cuts of steak from Iowa Premium Black Angus and inventive seafood dishes with a signature Spanish flair.

For more information on Second Helpings Atlanta visit www.secondhelpingsatlanta.org.

MAYA Steaks & Seafood, 6152 Roswell Road, Atlanta 30328.
Offering dinner Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m to 11 p.m.
(404) 705-8880, www.mayasteaks.com

Image of Chef Mimmo courtesy Red Clay Public Relations

Related: MAYA: Superior Steak in Sandy Springs

ONE taco tuesday

Taco Tuesdays at ONE. Midtown Kitchen

Looking to get your taco fix this Tuesday? ONE. midtown kitchen is now offering a taco and Tecate special.

On Taco Tuesdays you can enjoy three different tacos created by Executive Chef Matt Weinstein and a can of the Mexican beer for just $13.

You can add rice and beans for an additional $1, and a shot of tequila for $3.

The tacos will change weekly, though you can anticipate one featuring poultry, one with seafood and one vegetarian taco.

ONE’s regular dinner menu is also available on Tuesdays. The restaurant opens at 5:30 p.m.

Taco Tuesdays at ONE. midtown kitchen, 559 Dutch Valley Road, Atlanta, 30324. 404-892-4111, onemidtownkitchen.com

Photo credit: Mia Yakel

STK Atlanta

Oyster & Champagne Party at STK Atlanta

Oysters for $1 each and a glass of champagne for $5 starting at 5pm on Friday, March 31st at STK Atlanta.

You really don’t need to know much more than that. Fab food and drinks at a great price at one of Midtown’s coolest spots kind of speaks for itself.

oysters at STKBut here are the full details: STK Atlanta is hosting a “Shuck Yeah! Oyster and Champagne Party” in its bistro and lounge in honor of National Oyster on the Half Shell Day. It’s from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the 31st.

Fresh, chef handpicked East Coast and West Coast oysters will be $1 apiece, and the price of champagne changes based on the hour. At 5 p.m. a glass of bubbly is $5, starting at 6 p.m. it’s $6, and then it’s $7 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. A live DJ completes the party, making STK the perfect place to kick off the weekend.

Stay for dinner and add some turf to your surf, with one of STK’s mouthwatering steaks. I recommend the 28 oz Dry-Aged Porterhouse.

Shuck Yeah! Oyster and Champagne Party at STK Atlanta
Friday, March 31, 2017 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
1075 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30309
(404) 793-0144, www.stkhouse.com

Images courtesy Caren West PR

Grand Velas Los Cabos

Grand Velas Los Cabos Now Open

It is hard to imagine a vacation more relaxing or indulgent than one at the ultra luxe Grand Velas Riviera Maya. The only thing that could possibly top that would be a stay at the newly opened Grand Velas Los Cabos.

Grand Velas has redefined the category of luxury all-inclusives, with Michelin star-type dining, top shelf liquors, high-end wines and 24 hour room service.

Grand Velas Los Cabos officially opened on December 20, 2016. It is located between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, about 35 minutes away from Los Cabos International Airport. It’s the fifth property of Velas Resorts.

Grand Velas Los Cabos room

All of the rooms are suites and feature stunning ocean views, expansive bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs and L’Occitane bath products, daily stocked premium mini-bars (raid them any time, it’s part of the all-inclusive experience), and a Nespresso coffee maker.

Four gourmet restaurants offer fine dining with flavors from around the world. The signature restaurant, Cocina de Autor, is helmed by a two star Michelin chef. Guests also have the opportunity to discover local wines – the Baja California region produces Mexico’s best.

Grand Velas Cocina

Frida, open nightly, offers a contemporary take on classic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant recently debuted the world’s most expensive taco, made with Kobe beef, Almas Beluga caviar and black truffle brie cheese and topped with an exotic salsa of dried Morita chili peppers, Ley.925 Ultra Premium Añejo tequila and civet coffee. It is served on a gold flake-infused corn tortilla. The taco costs $25,000 USD (unfortunately not included in the all-inclusive rate). Enjoy it with a bottle of Ley.925 Pasión Azteca Ultra Premium Añejo tequila for an additional $150,000 USD.

25K taco Grand Velas

At Grand Velas Los Cabos guests can stroll miles of uninterrupted beach or relax by the three tiered infinity pools. The two-level, 35,000 square foot spa offers ultimate relaxation. Massage treatments begin with a “Water Journey,” a series of alternating hot and cold experiences that end in the multi-sensory pool.

Rates at Grand Velas Los Cabos start at $750 per person per night in double occupancy. The all-inclusive rate includes luxury suite accommodations, a la carte gourmet meals and premium brand beverages at the more than 10 restaurants and bars, 24-hour in-suite service, a fitness center and nightly entertainment. The spa is not included in the all-inclusive rate.

For more information visit http://loscabos.grandvelas.com.

photos courtesy Grand Velas Los Cabos

Related: A Luxurious Getaway Awaits You at Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Federalist Dueling Pistols

AG Pick: The Federalist Dueling Pistols 2014

How does a Syrah, Zinfandel, red blend from the West Coast
Taste when you raise it for a toast?

I’ve had the hit musical Hamilton on the brain for months and I couldn’t help but think about the opening number when I was pouring a glass of The Federalist Dueling Pistols.

The name of the wine was inspired by the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. The 2014 vintage is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma.

Federalist Dueling PistolsDueling Pistols is the latest wine from The Federalist, a series of wines that honor America’s Founding Fathers and their ideals.

It’s a great concept for a California red wine blend. Zinfandel, a proudly American grape (and definitely the Hamilton in this duel), faces off with Syrah, a grape that can be on its own or in blends, but is typically blended with Rhone varieties including Grenache and Mourvedre.

The Syrah and Zinfandel grapes for Dueling Pistols were separately fermented. After blending, the wine spent 15 months in 20% new American and Hungarian oak barrels. American oak was used to add sweeter notes, Hungarian to add spice.

Fortunately for us, this duel has a happy outcome – a rich and robust wine that’s enjoyable to drink.

Dark purple in color as you would expect with these two grapes, The Federalist Dueling Pistols has spicy berry and smoky aromas. The taste is bold with flavors of black cherry, ripe plum and blackberry rounded out with black pepper, root beer and a touch of smoked meat. Smooth tannins and good acidity give the wine a supple mouthfeel.

Pair the Federalist Dueling Pistols with roasted chicken or turkey, or red meat. Fittingly, it’s perfect at an all-American barbecue.

The only duel you might find yourself in is fighting over the last sip.

A bottle of The Federalist 2014 Dueling Pistols costs $29.

The Federalist wines are produced by Terlato Wines. Dueling Pistols is not associated with Hamilton: An American Musical.

14.5% alcohol

Scofflaw Beer Dinner at The Cowfish on March 13

How do Atlanta’s newest craft brews pair with sushi and burgers? Find out on March 13th when The Cowfish hosts a special dinner with Scofflaw Brewing Company.

Cowfish logoAtlanta is the latest city to welcome The Cowfish, a unique dining experience that brings together fresh Scofflaw logoand innovative sushi with classic and gourmet burgers. The restaurant is located at the Perimeter Mall.

Scofflaw Brewing Company has been earning rave reviews since their beers debuted last October in metro Atlanta.

The Scofflaw beer dinner will be held at 6pm on Monday, March 13th. Four courses of Cowfish favorites will be paired with an assortment of brews, with a Scofflaw brewer on hand to talk about each sip.  Here is a peek at the menu:

First Course
Signature handmade nigiri of salmon, tuna and Hamachi
Sneaky Wheat | Imperial American Wheat

Second Course
Blackened Tuna Nachos – Seared Ahi tuna with
avocado salsa and crab rangoon dip
Deliverance Roll – Burgushi selection made with pulled pork,
housemade BBQ sauce and bacon coleslaw
Basement | East Coast IPA

Third Course
Two all-natural mini burgers selected from the
“minis of the week” rotation:
Boursin & Bacon
Luchador
Double Jeopardy | Double IPA

Fourth Course
Flourless chocolate torte with raspberry sauce,
caramel and sesame brittle
Interrogation | Coffee Milk Stout

The dinner costs $40 per person. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (770) 225-0009 or emailing kevin@thecowfish.com. For more information check out the event’s Facebook page.

Scofflaw Beer Dinner at The Cowfish, March 13, 2017 at 6 pm. Perimeter Mall, 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody, GA 30346. (770) 225-0009

Tavern at Atlas

Now Open: The Tavern at Atlas

There’s a new excuse to check out one of Atlanta’s top dining spots. Atlas, the restaurant at the St. Regis in Buckhead has just launched The Tavern at Atlas.

Located in the two front areas of the restaurant, by the bar and in the library, The Tavern at Atlas offers chef-driven small plates, creative cocktails and a more casual experience.

Click to enlarge menu
Click to enlarge menu

It’s the perfect date spot or place to reconnect with friends. In the cozy, intimate setting you can share dishes like citrus-cured salmon flatbread, Georges Bank pan-seared sea scallop and Atlas sliders.

You get to enjoy the excellent food Atlas is known for, without committing to a full, formal dinner.

The Tavern at Atlas opens at 4 p.m. daily. For more information visit atlasrestaurant.com, or connect with @AtlasBuckhead on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Tavern at Atlas, St Regis Atlanta, 88 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta 30305. (404) 600-6471

Smith & Hook red blend

AG Pick: Smith & Hook 2013 Proprietary Red Blend

It’s chilly, gray and drizzling where I am. It’s the kind of weather that makes me want to close my laptop, light a fire, and get cozy on the couch with a good book and glass of red wine.

The wine I’d want to be sipping is the Smith & Hook 2013 Proprietary Red Blend from California’s Central Coast. Rich with intense dark fruit and smoke notes, it’s the wine equivalent of a warm blanket on a cold winter day.

Smith & Hook Proprietary Red BlendThe wine is a blend of 47% Merlot, 35% Malbec, 10% Petite Sirah and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in Paso Robles, Arroyo Seco, San Antonio Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands. It was aged for 26 months in French oak, 60% of which was new.

2013 is the first vintage of the Proprietary Red Blend. Smith & Hook, part of Hahn Family Wines, also produces a Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Proprietary Red Blend opens with aromas of dark red berries, smoked meat and toasted oak. The taste is full, lush and layered with dark red cherry, blackberry, plum, vanilla, baking spice, tobacco and leather. It’s velvety smooth in the mouth with well-integrated tannins. The finish is long and satisfying with lingering berry pie.

The wine is a great pairing for hearty winter dishes. Enjoy the Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend with beef tenderloin or stew, a savory risotto or braised lamb shank.

A bottle of the Smith & Hook 2013 Proprietary Red Blend costs $25.

14.5% alcohol

wine auction 2016

High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Returns for 25th Edition

Raise a glass to one of Atlanta’s top social events! The High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction returns for its 25th year in March 2017.

This year’s theme is “The Big One,” and celebrates the event’s major milestone. Over its 24 years the High Museum Wine Auction has grown to be the largest charity wine auction benefiting the arts in the United States, and has raised more than $26 million for the High Museum.

High Wine AuctionFrom Wednesday, March 22nd to Saturday, March 25th there will be special lunches, dinners and seminars, leading up to the Friday Fête and Saturday’s Vintners’ Reception and Live Auction. For the second year the Friday Fête and Auction will be held inside the tents at the Green Lot at Turner Field.

Jim Clendenen, Michael Browne and Dan Kosta are this year’s special guests of honor. Jim, the owner and winemaker at Au Bon Climat, hardly needs an introduction. A High Wine Auction regular, he has been regaling guests with entertaining stories and delicious wines for years. Michael and Dan are the co-owners of Kosta Browne Winery, which is well-known for its outstanding Pinot Noir. Kosta Browne is being honored for its support of the Wine Auction, having participated for nearly 10 years.

A number of wineries have already confirmed their participation in the 2017 Vintners’ Reception and Auction. Click here to see the list.

Benefactor packages to the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction are now available. Single tickets will go on sale in late January.

For more information on the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction visit atlanta-wineauction.org.

For more information on the High Museum of Art visit www.high.org.

I’ll see you under the tents in March!

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